Trustees voted to continue collecting class size data during yesterday’s board meeting, despite it no longer being a requirement of the province. I voted in favour of continuing to collect class size data knowing that parents will want data on how cuts to public education will affect our classrooms. Knowledge is power and without clear and consistent reporting it is difficult to track and visualize the impact of funding to the classroom.
Here’s the motion which Trustees voted in favour of:
That Edmonton Public Schools will collect and publish class size data consistent with previous reporting requirements by the Alberta government for the 2019-2020 school year. Further that the Board will consult with Administration and other school jurisdictions to develop a potential reporting model that takes into account class size and complexity for future years.
The complexity piece is a key part of this motion and one of the reasons I voted in favour of supporting it. The number of English language learners and students with special needs, for example, is part of the picture of our classrooms and being able to track and report back to our families this information is a critical piece of advocating for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for public education.
More professional development days?
During the January 14 meeting Trustees also talked about the possibility of adding five additional days where students wouldn’t be in classes. This would translate to three additional professional development days (days when teachers learn valuable skills to help them in the classroom) and two non-instructional days (neither students or staff present at school.) This would translate to 11 extra minutes added to each school day and save EPSB about $2.7 million dollars. This was information presented to the board. My colleagues and I now must decide how to proceed. One thing is for certain, before any decision is made on changing the calendar we would consult with families. Five additional days off school means extra childcare. I know first hand how challenging it can be to plan for non-school days and will certainly take this into consideration in any decision I make.
If you have questions or concerns about additional PD days or anything you read on this website, please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org or 780 429 8016.
To listen to my interview with the CBC’s Mark Connolly on both of these topics click here